Wildfires are becoming more frequent in the western United States as the eastern and southern portions of the country face more intense hurricane seasons. These events are making resilience top of mind for the US power grid. To this point, diesel generators have been the primary source of backup power for both critical infrastructure installations like hospitals and data centers, as well as utility companies. But, as efforts to mitigate climate change advance, many are looking for a clean energy alternative to diesel generators.
A new white paper from Enchanted Rock discusses which alternatives to diesel backup power can provide the same level of resilience while also helping utilities, regulators, communities, and large energy users meet their clean energy goals. The paper compares the four primary microgrid configurations that are often considered alternatives to diesel generators.
The authors looks at the feasibility, economics, and greenhouse gas emissions of natural gas generators, renewable natural gas (RNG) generators, community-scale solar-plus-storage, and a community-scale hybrid system that includes a RNG engine, solar, and storage. They conclude that three of these systems can feasibly provide resilience in an economic way.